Male management: Coping with aggression problems in male laboratory mice

Lab Anim. 2003 Oct;37(4):300-13. doi: 10.1258/002367703322389870.


In a laboratory environment, aggressive interactions between male mice may exceed normal levels leading to negative effects both on the well-being of the animals and on the validity of experimental results. In this paper we review results from the literature and our own research with regard to coping with excessive aggressive behaviour in male laboratory mice. Based on this review practical recommendations concerning the housing and care of male laboratory mice are formulated. In short, it is recommended to avoid individual housing, to transfer odour cues from the nesting area during cage cleaning and to apply nesting material as environmental enrichment. Furthermore, group size should be optimized to three animals per cage. Further research, in particular into the effects of frequency, duration, type and severity of disturbances during an experiment on the degree of aggression, is recommended.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression*
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory*
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Housing, Animal
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Species Specificity